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How to Keep Food Safe During Challenging Weather Conditions

November 21, 2023

As Perth grapples with an unprecedented heatwave and soaring temperatures, food businesses in the area are being urged to consider the potential impact on food safety. In the midst of record-breaking heat, adhering to stringent food safety measures becomes imperative to prevent potential health risks associated with improper food handling. 

Unprecedented Heatwave

Perth, unaccustomed to such extreme heat, is currently facing its first-ever ‘extremely severe’ heatwave, with temperatures anticipated to peak at a blistering 40°C before things begin to cool down again next week. According to Jessica Lingard from the Bureau of Meteorology, there will be “no time to acclimatise” and local businesses must adapt swiftly to the abrupt rise in temperature.

While residents focus on staying hydrated and seeking refuge in air conditioned buildings, food businesses will be turning their attention to preserving the freshness and safety of the food they supply to the public.

Practical Food Safety Measures

In response to the extreme conditions, food businesses in Western Australia are advised to pay even more attention to established guidelines in order to mitigate the risk of food-borne illnesses.

Temperature Monitoring:

Regularly check and adjust refrigerator temperatures to ensure they remain below 5°C, given the heightened strain on appliances during hot weather.

Prompt Storage:

Swiftly refrigerate perishable items, particularly meats and dairy, to counteract the spread of pathogens in warmer temperatures. Minimise food’s exposure to ambient heat.

Hygiene Protocols:

Place extra emphasis on hygiene in the kitchen, ensuring hands are thoroughly washed before handling food. Also be sure to clean and sanitise utensils and work surfaces to prevent potential contamination.

Cooking Methods:

Where possible, opt for cooking methods that generate less heat, such as grilling or microwave use. This will conserve energy and help maintain a cooler cooking environment.

Emergency Preparedness:

Hot weather often leads to thunderstorms and potential power outages. In anticipation, contingency plans should be in place for the temporary preservation of perishable items, including the use of coolers and ice packs.

The current heatwave is a concerning development, especially as it occurs in late spring, a time when many of Perth’s food establishments might not be fully prepared for extreme heat. The worst may be yet to come too, making it more important than ever for food businesses to take extra steps to ensure the safety of their food.

Implementing these practical measures is not just a matter of convenience but a proactive step toward ensuring that food remains safe for consumption amidst extreme weather conditions. In situations like these, a diligent approach to food safety safeguards the health of individuals and communities alike.

Food Safety First offers a range of training programs to educate you on the basics of food safety. Contact us today and discover how we can help you navigate the dangers of food handling and consumption.